Colourful African lizard poses new threat to natives

| 29/01/2024 | 12 Comments
Red-headed rock agama (from social media)

(CNS): The Department of Environment is issuing an alert over the first recorded sighting of a red-headed rock agama (Agama agama) on Grand Cayman. The small invasive lizard, which is a native of sub-Saharan Africa, was spotted last Thursday in the industrial centre of George Town, next to the container yard where international shipments have their first port of call.

“It is therefore highly likely to have been a one-off accidental import, highlighting the need for robust biosecurity protocols,” a spokesperson from the DoE said.

“Thanks to Dominic Jackson, who alerted the Terrestrial Resources Unit upon spotting it, we were able to detect and remove the animal successfully within the hour,” the DoE stated in the alert posted on social media.

This lizard, which is popular in the pet trade due to its spectacular colour, especially in males, was introduced some years ago to South Florida, where it has thrived and is now extremely common. As a result, the DoE has been keeping an eye out for it due to concern that it could become the Cayman Islands’ next invasive reptile.

“Once established, the agamas are much harder to control than are green iguanas due to their smaller size,” the DoE warned.

“The red-headed agama is primarily insectivorous, but they have been known to eat small mammals, small reptiles and vegetation such as flowers, grasses, and fruits,” the department explained. “It behaves much like our native curly-tailed lizard (aka the lion-lizard) and would pose a serious risk to such native reptiles through competition for resources as well as a potential vector of disease.”

Anyone who sees this species of lizard or any other exotic-looking animal in the wild is asked to contain the animal if possible and contact the DoE Terrestrial Unit immediately by
WhatsApp at 925-7625 or email

Share your vote!

How do you feel after reading this?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: , ,

Category: Land Habitat, Science & Nature

Comments (12)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Mr Jackson for reporting it quickly!
    Between the green iguanas and feral cats we are losing a lot of songbirds and indigenous wildlife. We’ve had to pay millions to cull the iguanas, who by the way are beginning to reappear. Can you imagine having to do the same for this creature?!

  2. Anonymous says:

    The Red Skull has invaded! Call Captain America!

  3. Politician's Son Result? says:

    Whatever happened to the politician’s son who got caught smuggling illegal exotic pets into the country amd after police finally made it into his home found many more there?? Did he and his girlfriend receive any jail time and/or pay huge sums of money for their transgressions? I don’t recall hearing the outcome.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thank you TRU, volunteers and CNS for bringing it to our attention.

  5. Anonymous says:

    How cute. If it eats a lot of mosquitoes then it would be a welcome addition. Tourists would have liked this unique lizard

  6. Anonymous says:

    We have another invasive species most dangerous to our islands called the elected politicians!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.